Team effort puts NT Valley newspapers into top positions

Black Press publisher Al Kirkwood says he’s more than a little proud of how his papers fared at the recent Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CNA) and B.C. and Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s (BCYCNA)  awards held during the Ink and Beyond conference, at the River Rock Resort in Richmond on Apr. 30 and May 1.

Kirkwood, publisher for both the North Thompson Star/Journal in Barriere, and The North Thompson Times in Clearwater,  commented that it takes outstanding staff to mold all facets of a newspaper into an award winning publication.  And that’s why the staff at both papers, especially The Times, are celebrating their recent triumphs.

The North Thompson Times took first place honours at the CNA Awards for Best All-Round Newspaper circulation up to 1249, and Best Editorial Page circulation up to 1249.

In the BCYCNA Ma Murray Awards both newspapers were in the top three in the Newspaper General Excellence competition category A (under 3,000 circulation), with The Times taking the silver and the Star/Journal the bronze.

Judges made the following comments regarding The Times; “Stories are presented well and in an engaging manner to the reader.  The Op/Ed/Editorial pages are very good and the balance on the pages and the photography throughout is also of a high standard.  Content variation, production quality, and advertising, should be commended.”

Judges comments for the Star/Journal read, “With a large picture on the front page that is eye-catching and high quality, this paper is engaging from the start.  Photography and clear printing combined with well reported local news provides something for everyone.”

Black Press BC Interior North president Lorie Williston congratulated both papers at the awards saying, “We’re just so proud of the successes of our two North Thompson papers.  You guys have done great.”

Although BCYCNA’s category A has the smallest circulation, with 21 newspapers it has the largest number of competitors of any of the general excellence competition’s seven circulation categories.

“These awards show that our newspapers are for the community and involved in the community,” said Kirkwood “To be judged by our peers and to come out on top is the ultimate.”

Keith McNeill, editor of The Times, says he was more than a little surprised, and thrilled, when he was presented with the two CNA awards.

“All of the staff contributed to these awards,” said the editor, “It’s a real team effort to put out the paper.”

Star/Journal editor Jill Hayward says it takes a lot of hard work and dedication by the staff at both papers to put out 52 weeks a year.  “Everyone contributes to the final product,” said Hayward, “You have to solicit advertising in person or over the telephone, and then the ads are created and designed in the production department, the editor and corespondents spend a good part of each week out in the communities covering events, interviewing folks, and taking photographs;  then we have to sit for hours in front of our computers while we write, paginate, and create your community newspaper which then goes back to production, the ads are inserted and it is sent electronically to the press in Vernon.  It really is a team effort to  get the paper off to the press each Friday – and then we start right away on the following issue.”

Both newspapers not only share their publisher, but also the production staff at the Star/Journal in Barriere, making The Times’ wins just that much more sweet for all those involved.